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View Full Version : Good, Bad, Ugly: Pros and Cons of Water Miscible Paints


dbclemons
08-09-2009, 12:34 PM
Okay, so let's face this topic head on. Warning, this will be a long post.

For years now we've been hearing all sorts of comments about why some people think water-miscible paints are stupid, "an answer in search of a problem, etc.," and others say they'd marry it if they could. So, let's all just try and calmly discuss all the issues. If I miss anything feel free to add more. No gunplay, please.

Pros-Cons:
"Water and oil don't mix!" Well, that's not exactly true, is it? Oil can be made to mix with water by either modifying the oil itself or adding an emulsifying agent of some sort that is itself water soluble.

"It ain't broke so don't fix it. Oil painting has been around for centuries, so why bother modifying it? How will that restructured oil or modified paint perform in the long run?" Gotta give this one to them. Good points. However, that doesn't exactly clarify bad things about them, only potential problems. Acrylics also had potential problems when first released, and they seem to be working out fine. I suppose those folks also dislike alkyds too (do I want to go there?) I'm just sayin'... give me more details. These paints were not just modified and quickly tossed out on the market without thorough testing by the manufacturers. Also, if you really examine it, the "regular" oils sold today are not all the same as what was used centuries ago.

"Why replace turpentine (or spirits) with water? Alergic? Don't like the odor? You can paint with "regular" oils and not ever use turpentine or spirits." Absolutely true, so I gotta give them this one too. It's also possible to only clean your brushes and palette with just soap and water, but you're gonna need an awful lot of it to substitute for what a small amount of "regular" solvent would be able to do very easily. I can tell you from years of experience of cleaning oils from brushes before water-miscibles came out, that soap and water alone doesn't always do the job. For those times, even with water-miscibles, when cleaning can be a problem, I keep a small amount of spirits handy. It's not a complete substition in that case, but greatly reduced. The bulk of turpentine/spirit use was while painting and that can be completely eliminated.

"These are student grade paints." I've heard this quite a bit, but I don't see any direct evendence of it from the paint manufacturers themselves. As far as I can tell this seems to come from someone who contacted W&N who replied that they had to formulate their Artisan paints to a lower pigment load than their artists grade paints due to how these paints were manufactured and how they react with water. I have yet been able to confirm that statement, and even if true it only speaks for Artisans, not the other brands. Holbein, for example is on record for saying "the oil is identical to that used in Holbein Artist Oil Color."

"These are not the top tier of oil paints on the market." This actually comes from me, and I'm sure others would agree with me. Let's face it, the companies that make top of the line oils, such as Old Holland, Blockx, or Vasari, do not also have water-miscible versions, and I doubt they ever will. If asked to compare Artisans or Aqua-DUOS side by side with Old Holland, I could imagine they'd not do as well. However, I don't mind displaying any of the oil paintings I've made with water-msicibles along side anyone elses paintings, no matter what brand they used. In the end, it's the results that always matter, and what you have to do to get there. If the paints are giving you problems, don't continue to punish yourself. The water-miscibles can be mixed with "regular" oils also, let's not forget.

"There are problems with consistency and handling of these paints." This comes directly from the users themselves, including me. Sometimes the paints can be very hard and stiff out of the tube. Other times the paint practically pours out in a puddle of oil. This can even happen with tubes of the same color by the same company. Another problem is that some paint seems to stay tacky on the surface for far too long. I've once experienced this myself with a large area of Artisan ultramarine blue that took several weeks to finally loose that feel. That's unacceptable, no question. For me, I've found the Aqua-DUOS to always have of a nice creamy quality with every color I've used; no hardness, not too oily, no tacky feel afterwards. The other brands, hit and miss. I strongly advise the other paint companies to step it up.

I'm not a salesman for any of these companies, nor a water-miscible evangelist, so I'm not going to try and convert anyone to using them. There are good points on both sides. Use what you like. I will say that they are "professional" paints, certainly the way this professional uses them.

greywolf-art
08-09-2009, 02:25 PM
I definitely agree with the last statement there, as a professional artist producing professional results, it doesn't matter what you use so long as you get results, if I couldn't get the results I want from Artisan oils I wouldn't use them.

I do think the student quality issue is more to do with a misunderstanding, yes the techniques used in making artisan means a slightly lower pigment load, but they are still higher quality/pigment load than student grade oils.

personally I applaud winsor & newton for being reluctant to label Artisan paints as artist grade because they are not quite as high quality as their atists grade oils

With regard to the stiffness issue, to be honest I like my oils a bit stiff out of the tube, I use a lot of scumbling techniques where stiffer paint works better, and its easier to soften paint than it is to stiffen it.

I'd like to try out some of the other brands sometime, but I'm not overly worried about them at the moment.

dspinks
08-09-2009, 02:55 PM
All I know is I would not have tried oils at all if not for the WM factor. The easy clean-up was probably the most motivating factor for me. I do have a small set of Grumbacher Pre-tested, but rarely use it. Can't tell one from the other in the finished paintings.

Winsor Newton has an extensive Artisan FAQ (http://www.winsornewton.com/main.aspx?PageID=238&path=products%2foil-colours%2fartisan-water-mixable-oil-colour%2ffrequently-asked-questions%2f#o8) that addresses a lot of the issues we've been discussing in WC!.

I was the one who wrote to WN US Tech team re artist vs student grade, back in 2004. Here is my question and response from them, verbatim:

"I have a question whose answer isn't clearly stated either on-line or in your printed materials: Are Artisan oils considered artist grade or student grade paints?"

And this was their response:

"Thank you for your inquiry. While Artisan does have true Cadmiums and a true Cobalt, as an Artists' range would, it is actually a student range of color. When we launched Artisan, we believed that the strongest potential was with the student community. The main difference is that Artisan has not been formulated to the same pigment strength as our artist's ranges. We are looking very closely at a professional-grade solution, however."

I haven't been able to find any information on whether they've actually done so.

dbclemons
08-09-2009, 06:19 PM
Thank you, Debra, for adding that. Unfortunately, that FAQ doesn't address the issue of student grade or artists grade. I realize you're quoting someone else so I'm not arguing with you directly.

W&N has a student grade line called Winton, and I believe if you compare those to Artisans, same pigment to pigment, you'd find as I have that the Artisans behave much better. The coverage is better and the handling (when Artisans behave as their supposed to) is much better, at least for the few colors of Winton I've tested (borrowing a friends tubes.)

Another aspect of having "student grade" is offering it at a lower price, and if you compare Blick's prices of W&N oils you'll see that cobalt blue (PB28) in Winton is @$6, Artisan @$9, and Artist's @$19. I interpret that to mean there's more cobalt in Artisan but not as much as their Artist's line, since it's the pigment that makes paint pricey.

I know that certain schools now will not allow turp or spirits to be used in the art rooms for oil painting, so water-miscibles are required as oils in many cases. That may be a tip off as to their offering what appears to me a higher grade of paint other than Winton for the "student community" but that's just my speculation.

Perhaps I'll send off a new query to W&N to see if they've anything else to add.

dspinks
08-09-2009, 07:19 PM
Thank you, Debra, for adding that. Unfortunately, that FAQ doesn't address the issue of student grade or artists grade. I realize you're quoting someone else so I'm not arguing with you directly.
No argument here - I linked the FAQ because it addresses a lot of other technical issues that have been asked a few times, and many of them apply to WM in general, not just Artisan.

I know that certain schools now will not allow turp or spirits to be used in the art rooms for oil painting, so water-miscibles are required as oils in many cases. That may be a tip off as to their offering what appears to me a higher grade of paint other than Winton for the "student community" but that's just my speculation.
I agree. So far, WN has never directly stated that the Artisans are Artist Quality, but for sure, they use terminology (if you compare with the WN Winton page) that indicates they are of better quality than Winton. Especially in the area of making the point that Artisans are high in single-pigment primaries and secondaries.

Perhaps I'll send off a new query to W&N to see if they've anything else to add.
:thumbsup:

greywolf-art
08-09-2009, 07:28 PM
I agree about the classroom aspect - I recently taught a 6 week portrait painting course at the local art club and I insisted on using Artisan paints because of the health risks of having a dozen pots of turps in the same room (especially as I'm asthmatic)

and it does seem that the replies you get from winsor & newton depends on who you talk to, different technicians seem to give different information - apparently one technician claimed that the paints were near artist quality already!

jmckelvin
08-09-2009, 07:59 PM
I've only used the Winton oils in high school before. In high school though we had poor ventilation to begin with and then at home I really didn't have a great place to paint. Sometimes with all the turpentine it would be a bit hard to breathe, some of ended up painting in the hall. At home I'd have to keep windows open, which wasn't really nice in winter. I have a daughter now and I paint sometimes in the same room as her or in the room next to hers. So of course all of that toxicity was a concern. I'm happy that I was able to find the Aqua-Duos or I probably would be posting in the acrylic forum right now. I really don't have much against acrylic, I just prefer the slower drying time for blending.

Since I haven't painted since high school, I'm also picking up more tips from magazine articles and online. Though I'm still learning a lot. Also I haven't seen what the difference is between artist grade and student grade. I see talk of pigment levels but I'm not sure how that effects the final out come. If it's just a range of colors then I don't think it really matters to me. I've found a palette set that I'm happy with, except for maybe one color that I'd like to get.

dspinks
08-09-2009, 08:16 PM
Pigment level, or pigment load, is the percentage of pigment vs binders/fillers in the paint. So, a high pigment load means that the paint is going to have richer, fuller color for a smaller amount of paint used. This color will also hold its integrity better when thinned or mixed with other mediums.

Another factor that distinguishes between student and artist quality paint is the purity of the pigment used. The less expensive and/or student grade paints use mixtures of less expensive colors to obtain a close proximity of a more expensive pigment. This can produce unexpected results in both hue and saturation when it comes to mixing your own colors on the palette or canvas.

Debra

dbclemons
08-09-2009, 10:36 PM
Fillers are used to bulk up the paint volume. Some fillers like blanc fixe are virtually colorless, but take up space that the pigment would ordinarily use. Or substitute pigments may be used that approximate the genuine pigment. These paints are often labeled as "hues" although not every company uses that term, and pigment substitutes are present in artists grade also, so "hue" on a label doesn't necessarily mean student grade. Low price is typically the best way to tell, and see if there are other lines by the same brand of the same pigment that are priced higher.

The intent is that the student grade paint has the same feel at the risk of quality, and to keep the price down. Some oil paints like Old Holland have a very high pigment concentration and the price reflects that.

Cerulean blue (PB35 or 36) is one pigment that can easily be quite expensive, so other synthetic hues are often substituted, usually a mix of two or three including white. Each of those substitutes will likely react differently than the genuine article when mixed with other pigments.

Of the companies that make water-miscibles, Grumbacher had a Max2 that they labeled as student grade, but it was discontinued a few years ago; therefore, it's reasonable to assume Max is artists grade. Maimeri has recently jumped into the ring with their Classico_Acqua, and Classico is the name for their student grade oils. Weber's wOil is water-miscible, and I believe the only other oil they make is Permalba, which is student grade as I understand it. I can see how it's easy to think of water-miscibles as all being student grade, but that's not always the case.

Wassie
08-10-2009, 12:01 PM
I was told by Johnnie Liliedahl that she contacted the manufacturer of WM paints and was told that there is detergent in the paints to make them water mixable. She will not use them because they would be non-archival because the detergent would break down. The paintings would probably last as long as I need them to, though.

JimmyM
08-10-2009, 02:23 PM
I painted in W/Mixable oils for about three years before moving to regular oils.

There is no question in my mind that Holbein has the best grade of product, I would rank WN second.

I find the key difference relative to W/Mixable vs. regular oils (aside from some pigment compromise) is in the handling of the paint, not so much any other characteristic. It just does not cut or cover the canvas as well as oil used with turp or mineral spirits.

However, I think the finished work speaks for itself, and I've completed some very good pieces with W/Mixable paint.

I believe you can produce work just as good as regular oils if you make some adjustments to your handling of the medium.

Chief
08-10-2009, 03:14 PM
I use Murphys Oil Soap (pure vegtable) for cleanup......it works great and costs little. :)

greywolf-art
08-10-2009, 06:00 PM
I use Murphys Oil Soap (pure vegtable) for cleanup......it works great and costs little. :)

yeah but with water soluble oils why would you need it - plain soap and water is all you need :thumbsup:

dbclemons
08-10-2009, 06:10 PM
I was told by Johnnie Liliedahl that she contacted the manufacturer of WM paints and was told that there is detergent in the paints to make them water mixable...

I've heard this criticism before, even on other sites (http://www.trueart.info/binders.htm), so several years ago I emailed Winsor & Newton and got this response from the cheif chemist:

---

The article is somewhat misleading. (The article on the Trueart site.)

The use of the term detergent could be confusing to the layman as it is usually associated with cleaning materials. Many paints contain surfactants, particularly water based ones. Detergents are surfactants but all surfactants are not detergents, they are used for example as wetting agents, pigment dispersants, antifoams & emulsifying agents. For oil to become miscible with water it has to form an emulsion, whether this is oil in water or water in an oil emulsion. Although we don't have access to the composition of Duo it certainly forms an emulsion as it turns milky on addition of water. It almost certainly contains some form of emulsifying agent whether as a free additive or reacted with the oil. Use of the incorrect surfactant can cause foaming but have never found any problems with foaming or gumminess in Artisan.

Artisan will mix with acrylics but it is not advisable as the two media are drying by totally different mechanisms and we don't have sufficient information to know what effect this would have on long term stability. Does the acrylic form a coherent film which contains undried molecules of oil or do these disrupt the cohesiveness? I would not advise using Duo with acrylics.

Any paint thinned excessively with water/solvent will become under bound with associated adhesion problems unless the substrate is absorbent, as with watercolour on paper.

We could make the statements that: Artisan does not contain detergent; can be mixed with water to give thin washes, and; is also mixable with acrylics. Those statements, however, are, at best, misleading because:

1. The emulsifying agent (inside Artisan paint) is not formulated for use as a detergent, although, in a completely different chemical context, it could function as such.

2. Thin washes with oil - conventional or water-mixable - will be under bound on non-absorbent substrates.

3. The effect on durability of a binder comprising an oxidative drying oil and a dispersed polymer which fuses on evaporation of water has not been established.

(end message)
------

The gist of what he's saying is there is a surfactant in the paint but it's not something you would want to wash your clothes with, and their use as an additive in the paint is not unusual and can be benefitial as an anti-foaming agent. Even regular oils often use such additives that can be found in soaps and detergents, such as aluminum stearate. If you want to avoid using paints that contain "detergents" you may have to stop painting all together. The companies that use these rarely declare that.

dbclemons
08-11-2009, 10:26 PM
I recently emailed Winsor & Newton this question:
...can you identify for me how your Artisan paint is graded: student, artist, or somewhere in between? If it is made to be something less than artist's grade, can you tell me why?

Their reply:
While the Artisan line is not considered by Winsor & Newton a professional "Artist's Grade" color, it cannot exactly be called student grade color. If evaluated in the context of the other two Winsor & Newton oil color lines, it belongs between the Artists Oils line and the Winton Student Oils line. In practical terms for a painter, this means that the Artisan line does not contain the extremely concentrated pigment load of the professional Artists Oils Line, yet does contain more pigment than the Winton student line. Color that has a highly concentrated pigment load is denser and richer than color with a less concentrated pigment load, and will produce cleaner and stronger mixes. The decision to lessen the pigment load in the Artisan line was made in order to keep it affordable and accessible for students who were interested in trying this solvent free alternative to traditional oils.

Amy Faris
Winsor Newton Technical Support
---
My reaction to this is it's obvious from two different replies to this question W&N says the main reason they have lowered the pigment concentration in Artisan's is not because they need to, but to lower the cost. As I suspected, due to the slightly higher price of these to their Wintons, there's still more pigment in them than student grade paints, if not as much as their professional grade, and this reply confirms that.

So, are Artisans student grade paint? Well, they're not artist grade, and with only two choices ...do the math. On the other hand, they have a higher pigment load than student grade, and (as far as I can tell) don't use fillers.

dspinks
08-11-2009, 10:57 PM
It would be great if they could be convinced that more professionals would use them if they were true Artist Quality, especially since the advent of the thinner and the "improved" fast dry medium. On second thought, I guess they do know it, but prefer to capture the rising tide of "no solvents in classroom" market. In the meantime, I'm perfectly satisfied with them as they are (especially the price).



Debra

karenlee
08-12-2009, 09:10 AM
I was told by Johnnie Liliedahl that she contacted the manufacturer of WM paints and was told that there is detergent in the paints to make them water mixable. She will not use them because they would be non-archival because the detergent would break down. The paintings would probably last as long as I need them to, though.

Wassie
I see you have once again brought up Johnnie Lilliedahl's statement about contacting "the manufacturer" of WM paint. Lilliedahl does not say which manufacturer was contacted. The truth is, different manufacturers use different methods of making their paints water miscible. MAX uses a modified linseed oil by removing the hydrophobic fractions while other brands (I do not know which) use an emulsifier. Detergent, or soap, is an emulsifier. An emulsifier is an agent that allows water and oil to mix. Egg yolk is an example. Egg tempera paintings have survived since the beginning of painting and are certainly archival. You provide no substantiation for the statement that water miscibles are not archival. I hope this message gives you more information about water miscible paints and "detergent." Your posts are giving water miscible paints a bad reputation without any factual substantiation.
Karen

dbclemons
08-12-2009, 04:01 PM
...MAX uses a modified linseed oil by removing the hydrophobic fractions while other brands (I do not know which) use an emulsifier...

Truthfully, the exact manufacture of these paints is unclear, since they all guard their trade secrets, although some details can be gleaned through 2nd hand information that at least sounds reasonably accurate.

Max has been described as using a blend of both a modified vegetable oil of some sort and regular alkali refined linseed oil. Usually when I see "vegetable oil" as relates to painting oils I think soya, but that's just an assumption on my part. What I've read of Talen's H2Oil is it's a modified vegetable oil. Holbein Duos is apparantly the same as their regular oils but with an added "activator" emulsifier of some sort. Artisan is actually labeled on the tubes as a vehicle of modified linseed oil.

By the way, in the MSDS sheets W&N has up for their Artisan Mediums (http://www.winsornewton.com/main.aspx?pageID=428) 2-butoxyehtanol is listed as an ingredient. This is often used in everything from paints to liquid soaps, so that might be the "detergent" thingy to use a technical term :p .

DAK723
08-12-2009, 04:25 PM
This is purely my opinion on the issue of student grade vs. artist grade.

As has been mentioned, there are two main differences between the two - pigment load and the use of hues to "approximate" some of the more expensive pigments. As far as pigment load is concerned, I think the issue is overblown. First, what exactly is the dividing line between student and artist grade? Is there one? It is not as if student grade paints have one percentage and artist grade has another. The amount varies greatly between paints - some of the cheaper artist grade paints probably have a pigment load percentage closer to the student grade than to the highest end artist grade. And quite frankly, for most of us painting landscapes, portraits or figures, we often do not need a high pigment load since virtually all our color mixtures need to be neutralized considerably or lightened with large amounts of white.

On the other hand, hues are a different story (again, in my opinion). Since hues are usually a combination of pigments, they act differently in mixtures than a pure pigment. This makes them harder and more unpredictable to mix, often with results somewhat different than you might expect, especially if you are used to using the pure pigment.

So, personally, I don't fret about getting cheaper student grade paint, or worry about how W/S paints are classified - but, I do avoid getting "hues" most of the time.

That's my 2 cents.

Don

dbclemons
08-13-2009, 10:23 AM
Considering some of the strange materials professional artists use to make art from, including found garbage, it would certainly appear that the amount of pigment or fillers in a tube of paint you buy is less of an issue. However, it's important that you use the best quality that you can get to do proper service to what it is you are making. If you prefer using water-miscibles because of their features, then you owe it to yourself to get the best you can afford. Chances are if you buy the poorer grade paints you'll only wind up using more of it to comensate for it's shortcomings.

I use a complete range of oils to get what I need, including regular oils and some of those of the highest quality. My target is the pigment and how well that paint handles. The measure of quality I use is set by that experience. I'm not compelled to pay more for it, but it's unacceptable for me to use a poor grade of paint just to save money.

When I can get the same results with DUOs cerulean blue that I would with, say, Willamsburg cerulean I must admit that I'm happier that I didn't pay twice as much for that pleasure. If good results were not possible, then all the cost savings or ease of use with water would not be enough to convince me to use these paints.

There are those who would say that the regular professional grade oil paints of W&N or Lukas are only adequate at best compared to other brands of regular oils you can buy, so if W&N was to increase the pigment load to match their Artist line, it would still fall below the level of the higher priced paints out there. Max or Holbein is probably the best example of that. One of the issues of all these paints is that there are only a few brands to choose from, compared to the all the brands of regular oil paints there are.

couturej
08-13-2009, 11:25 AM
"Why replace turpentine (or spirits) with water? Alergic? Don't like the odor? You can paint with "regular" oils and not ever use turpentine or spirits."

Yes but you would have limitations on the techniques that you can employ. Personnaly I don't like limitations and I don't see it as an equal solution to WSO. Just my thoughts on the subject. :)

DAK723
08-13-2009, 12:40 PM
"Why replace turpentine (or spirits) with water? Alergic? Don't like the odor? You can paint with "regular" oils and not ever use turpentine or spirits."

Yes but you would have limitations on the techniques that you can employ. Personnaly I don't like limitations and I don't see it as an equal solution to WSO. Just my thoughts on the subject. :)

Having done quite a few paintings solvent free, as well as an equal number with W/S oils, I would agree. You are more limited painting solvent free, especially if you like to do underpaintings with a "thinned-down" paint. Normally for me, with regular oils, the underpainting would be done with a solvent thinned paint. This is the biggest llimitation that I have when working solvent free - I can't do the underpaintings as quickly and easily without a solvent. But I can do them with W/S oils just by adding water.

Don

Wassie
08-13-2009, 01:10 PM
I emailed Johnnie Liliedahl again about water miscible oils. This time she indicated that she has no opinion of them since she doesn't use them.

hal_s
08-13-2009, 06:23 PM
People should not worry about whether Artisan is true "artist quality" or not. They are likely superior to whatever Leonardo da Vinci mixed up himself in order to paint the Mona Lisa.

couturej
08-14-2009, 01:59 PM
Hi Wassie! Thank you for taking the time to clear that up! Welcome to the WMO forum! :)

Good point Hal! :)

couturej
08-15-2009, 08:53 AM
Just some general thoughts regarding the Pros and Cons of WMO:

Pros
- Can be used in a classroom or house without needing to worry about ventilation
- Great for plein air no need to bring solvents etc. Just water.
- Water can be obtained anywhere
- You can fly with these paints without worrying about products that are prohibited
- For those who have health concerns it allows them to paint without solvents
- Environmentally friendly
- No limitation on the results that you can obtain

Cons
- Very few books, resources for these paints
* But we're changing that :)

jmckelvin
08-15-2009, 09:03 AM
Just some general thoughts regarding the Pros and Cons of WMO:

Pros
- Can be used in a classroom or house without needing to worry about ventilation
- Great for plein air no need to bring solvents etc. Just water.
- Water can be obtained anywhere
- You can fly with these paints without worrying about products that are prohibited
- For those who have health concerns it allows them to paint without solvents
- Environmentally friendly
- No limitation on the results that you can obtain

Cons
- Very few books, resources for these paints
* But we're changing that :)

I like this list and agree :)

upnorthtim
08-15-2009, 12:45 PM
I made an inquiry directly to W&N about pigment loading in Artisan paints last summer (Aug 2008). Here is the response I received verbatim...

Tim

"Thank you for your enquiry. With current technology it is not possible to have a water mixable oil colour with pigment loading as high as Artists' Oil Colour in addition to having optimal handling and application properties.
Therefore the pigment loading of Artisan is similar, and in some cases slightly higher than Winton.

Artisan is widely acknowledged to have the highest pigment loading and best all round performance characteristics of any water mixable oil colour range currently on the market.

I hope that this information is of help. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.

Kind regards,

Ian Maginnis.

Painting & Technical Advisor."

dbclemons
08-15-2009, 07:10 PM
That's interesting, Tim. I would question the "current technology" line since it may only apply to how Artisans are made and not to other brands. Check the prices of cerulean blue (PB35) for Artisan, Max, Duos, and then compare them to each of their "professional" paints in the same size tubes.

I wouldn't be surprised that they make some adjustments for the paints to perform properly, but apparantly costs are also involved, at least for W&N. "Widely acknowledged" sounds like sales-speak to me. By whom?

Ultimately, I don't have any particular problem with Artisans pigment load. My biggest gripe, as I've mentioned, is a lack of proper consistency.

cairns nomad
08-16-2009, 09:26 PM
I find that they have a limited shelf life so doesn't pay to buy large quantities except for white. Some colours take longer to dry, also it depends on what you mix with them. Artisan makes a medium which I find ok, otherwise I use a little water. Mostly I like them straight from the tube. All paints have problems. But aren't these great for asthmatics, and cleaning up!

couturej
08-17-2009, 07:13 AM
I agree that they're great for asthmatics and cleaning up! I wonder if what you brought up regarding shelf life would apply to all brands of WMO. I know that the Max seem to go stiff in the tube over time and it just takes a little linseed oil to loosen them up. I've only had this happen with the Prussian Blue in this line but I've only had these for about a year.

dbclemons
08-17-2009, 10:15 AM
I have returned newly purchased tubes of Artisans that were too stiff to squeeze out, like clay. A replacement tube of cadmium red was too oily (practically poured itself out, as I recall.) I'm not sure what causes the stiffness, but if it's apparant in new tubes that haven't sat around that long then I assume it isn't a shelf-life issue. If so, then all of their paints would have that problem. If it was a tube leak they would become solid, not just stiff. I still have an old Max burnt umber that's very stiff but hasn't gotten worse.

I have a several Duos (except for the new colors) a few Berlins and a couple H2Oils that are not stiff at all. I've only noticed this problem with Artisans and Max tubes, so it must have something to do with how they're made. I would have guessed the companies would have noticed this by now.

cairns nomad
08-18-2009, 12:53 AM
As I'm in Aussie I don't know the other brands. I've only used Artisan and Van Gogh. I prefer Van Gogh and will buy them from now on. Water solubles are hard to get in Cairns, have only seen Artisan at one shop, I buy mine online. I'm glad to hear that it's not my fault they get hard! (Some of them I couldn't get out of the tube, but I bought them in Abu Dhabi, know why they were cheap)

dspinks
08-19-2009, 11:11 PM
Just an update on comments re Artisans in general and their WM Thinner and Fast Dry Medium. I sent an update query to Winsor Newton and this was the response from WN's Product Manager, Lynn Pearl:

“We don’t have any plans to re-launch Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour or increase the pigment level at this point. It was designed to be just above student (Winton) level in order to keep the price at a level that more artists would be able to afford to try something new. While this segment has come a very long way, water-miscible oil colour is still a mystery to many. Affordability is still a key.

I agree with Debra, the Thinner has made so much difference in how the colour performs! The consistency of Artisan, like other water miscible oils, will not feel exactly like genuine oil colour when mixed with water, although in my observation, Artisan doesn’t get as sticky as some competitors. The Thinner was designed to overcome this very issue. It also prevents colour shift and keeps the colour open longer.

In terms of the Fast Drying Medium, there was a formulation issue which caused a thickening problem in some batches; however it was corrected nearly two years ago and the improved formula is performing beautifully.”

Debra